“It’s a brave man”, in the year 2021, who dares write about pregnancy, abortion and bearing children, said Claire Lowdon in The Sunday Times. But in his “admirable” new novel, a work of fictionalised autobiography, Peter Ho Davies, a former Granta Young British Novelist, sets down “all of his compromised, human responses to the challenges of parenthood”.
The novel opens with the narrator and his wife agonising over whether to terminate a pregnancy – because their baby almost certainly has a rare genetic abnormality. They opt for an abortion, and later have a son – who in his early years is “slow to develop”. In “deceptively simple, pared-back” prose, the narrator details all the “difficult emotions” this engenders.
“This is a complicated story, told with fearless honesty,” said James Smart in The Guardian. Although funny at times, it has a “thoughtful frankness” that can “stop you in your tracks”. In depicting it as “baffling, traumatic and transformative”, Ho Davies’s portrait of fatherhood feels refreshingly true to life.
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